“I come to these sessions because of the companionship. Hearing everyone’s stories really helps.”
Peter, group member
Why we exist: to end social isolation
People are social. We naturally crave connection. We rely on it for meaning and purpose. When we feel disconnected we struggle.
Social isolation is a huge problem. It underpins and exacerbates all other problems. If left unchecked it removes joy and destroys health and vitality. It crushes the spirit, making life seem futile. People who are socially isolated report more mental health problems, die more prematurely, concern their loved ones and are harder to help.
What’s more, the challenges of modern life make authentic connection difficult to find.
But we’re here to help. Our focus is to make social connection quick, easy and delightful.
How we do it: by sharing stories
Sharing stories is in our DNA. That’s why it feels so healing. Stories help us relax, gather our thoughts and connect to something bigger than ourselves. According to our founder Christopher Smith:
“People have been sharing stories since the beginning of time. It’s built into who we are. It’s how we communicate. The best stories engage us wholly. They help us think, feel and share together. They inspire us to tell our own stories. Hearing a great story and having free-ranging discussions in safe, inclusive environments allows us to cross the bridges that seperate us”.
What we do: Deliver expertly facilitated group programs
Our programs create ideal conditions for people to organically connect.
In all of our prgrams we provide a facilitator who:
- Selects an exciting story each session (that will naturally generate conversation)
- reads the story aloud, evocatively. (so anyone can particpate – even if they find reading a challenge).
- ensures a safe, friendly, inclusive environment in which to share
- Prompts responses and manges interactions (ensuring equality and celebration of diversity)
People are always invited, never expected to respond. If it feels more comfortable, participants can just listen.
Who we work with: Organisations that feel how we do
We partner with people in organisations across sectors. We’d like to hear from you if you:
- Recognise that social isolation is a huge problem for your people right now
- Understand the link between social connectedness and better health outcomes
- Want to do more to promote social and emotional wellbeing
- Are looking for a practical way to build more inclusive communities
- Like to innovate to improve residents quality of life
- Are ready for something novel
OUR MISSION: Use Shared Reading programs to end social isolation in our communities.
We aim to be pro-active in the inclusion of people from all walks of life. In shared reading sessions, we celebrate the vibrancy of diverse life experiences and how they enrich our reading of great stories.
We believe that when people belong to and are actively engaged with their communities, they achieve better outcomes for their health and wellbeing.
We believe that everyone has something to contribute to a shared reading session and that there is value in the unique contributions of all.
We believe that everyone can and should be able to express their unique journey through life. We believe self-expression can liberate people from their circumstances and is vital for people to live to their potential.
We believe in the therapeutic power of literature. In engaging with expressive language and rich stories, people find support and beauty. We believe that anybody can engage with great literature and we aim to make it accessible to all people.
We believe that everybody has vulnerabilities and that everybody has the capacity for personal growth, self-learning and self-discovery.